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States Prohibit Natural Asset Companies

Feb 15, 2024 | Liberty Matters, NACs | 0 comments

The States of Nebraska and Kansas have taken on the task of prohibiting the formation of and/or prevent the ability of Natural Asset Companies to do business within their states.

One of the first bills filed is Nebraska’s Legislative Bill 1395, sponsored by State Senators Dave Murman of District 38, Ben Hansen of District 16, and Kathleen Kauth of District 31.  LB 1395 prohibits the State of Nebraska or any political subdivision of the state from conducting transactions, investments, or business with Natural Asset Companies (NACs).

The purpose of the legislation stems from the recent proposed rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission to create NACs as a new investment vehicle on the New York Stock Exchange. The rule was withdrawn January 17, 2024, however proponents of NACs have said they will be trying again to create the investment vehicle.

LB 1395 primarily seeks to regulate NACs’ involvement in various state affairs, with an emphasis on environmental conservation and responsible management of Nebraska’s natural resources.

The proposed legislation bars the sale, lease, or encumbrance of state-owned land to NACs. Its objective is to prevent these companies from directly or indirectly influencing Nebraska’s valuable resources. Additionally, it restricts public funds – including state-controlled investments and retirement systems – from engaging with NACs, thereby safeguarding financial resources.

In addition, the bill appears to go further by not allowing NACs to operate, conduct business, or acquire assets, easements, or other asset interests in Nebraska.  The Secretary of State (SoS) is also given the power to rescind the authority of any company doing business in Nebraska if such company becomes a Natural Asset Company.  Nor is the SoS permitted to accept filing fees from any NAC or permit a NAC to “enjoy good standing, transact business, or otherwise operate in this state.”

The SoS is further prevented from issuing a certificate of authority to a foreign natural asset company and “shall revoke any certificate of authority already issued to any foreign natural asset company.”  It also states: “any company that violates the Natural Asset Company Prohibition Act shall lose authorization to do business in this state for as long as the company continues to violate the act.”

For a copy of the legislation, go to:  https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/108/PDF/Intro/LB1395.pdf

In the State of Utah, Rep. Carl Albrecht, District 70, has filed HB 0496, amending Utah’s state code 63L-11-302, that addresses the State’s principles on natural resources on federal lands.  Senator Heidi Balderree (SD 22) is the Senate sponsor of the bill.

HB 0496 specifically addresses two issues: (1) the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rule that will circumvent and override Congress’ authority to manage federal lands by deeming conservation leases as the only and dominate use of federal lands, and (2) the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attempt to create Natural Asset Companies.

Specifically, the bill amends 63L-11-302 by adding subchapter (13) (c) that states: “the state supports the multiple-use, sustained-yield framework required by federal law for management of public lands and opposes federal prioritization of conservation as a use equal to other productive uses of public lands.”

In addition, Section 3 of the bill enacts the new Section 63L-13-203 that states:

(1)  A natural asset company may not purchase or lease state public lands.

(2)  On public lands within the state, a natural asset company may not:

(a)   Own or manage a conservation lease, or

(b)  Purchase or lease ecosystem services.

To read the bill, go to: https://le.utah.gov/~2024/bills/static/HB0496.html .

Both bills take important steps to prevent the natural resources in the respective states from being enrolled in a NAC or NAC like investment product. Additional language could be added that goes one step further and prevents natural processes and ecosystem services from being considered real property that can be monetized.

“What proponents of the natural asset effort are trying to establish is that these rights are equal to other ‘run with the land rights,’ like mineral and water rights,” stated Margaret Byfield, executive director of ASL, and “NACs would have been the first vehicle to ‘monetize’ these values.

The federal government is attempting to do the same thing through the creation of ‘Natural Capital Accounts,’ where they are poised to monetize the ecosystem services value created through federal conservation programs and easements to be added to the federal balance sheet.”

The States of Nebraska and Utah have taken key steps to protect their citizens from the latest scam to take American’s property rights through these two bills. If other States follow suit, the international forces working to protect and profit off America’s lands can be prevented.